No carfax info since Feb 2014

chrysler
towncountry

#1

Anyone have anything positive or negative to say about a 2006 Town & Country minivan with 48,000 miles on it? What does it mean that carfax has not received any information on this car since Feb 2014?


#2

Carfax is a notoriously unreliable source of information, despite what their commercials would have you believe. The absence of maintenance info on Carfax might be very ominous, or it could simply mean that it was serviced by an independent garage that doesn’t report info to Carfax. What you should be looking for are hard copies (receipts/invoices) of the vehicle’s maintenance in order to verify its maintenance record.

You might want to consider Consumer Reports’ opinion on the 2006 T & C, as their surveys indicate “Much worse than average” reliability for that model. In fact, in their listing of Worst Cars, CR lists the 2001-2009 Chrysler Town & Country, based on the very high incidence of repairs that were needed.


#3

Oh, my. Thank you very much.


#4

The minivan is 11 years old. Condition is more important than average reliability measures at this point. If it looks good to you, pay about $125 for a prepurchase inspection from a mechanic you trust. Looking good includes no rust anywhere, good paint, no body damage, good interior, all gauges and accessories work, heat/AC works. You should not hear any unusual noises from the suspension, engine, or exhaust during a test drive. Many 11 year old vehicles won’t be in this shape, but if the previous owner’s took good care of it, it can be in good condition.


#5

I want to add another thought for the OP. While many people consider low odometer mileage to be a wonderful thing, it can actually be a clue to an under-maintained vehicle.

With only 48k miles in 11 years, that means that this vehicle has been driven less than 4,500 miles per year–on average. Most vehicles with such low annual usage are driven only in short-trip, local driving, and that is actually the worst type of usage to which you can subject a vehicle.

Under those conditions, the moisture that normally builds-up in the crankcase as a byproduct of combustion isn’t burned-off, and it accumulates. That accumulated moisture causes the motor oil to form damaging sludge deposits, and to turn somewhat acidic over time. Additionally, the exhaust system of a vehicle like that will have more rust than it would normally have, and the battery’s life will be shortened.

This vehicle should have had its oil changed AT LEAST once per year, despite the low mileage, and if it was my vehicle, I would change the oil every six months in order to avoid the type of engine damage that results from short-trip, local driving. Unless you can verify through maintenance records that the oil has been changed somewhere between 11 and 22 times, then you should walk away from this deal.


#6

The only time Carfax would know about a service or registration change is if the DMV, dealer, or shop reported it to Carfax. Otherwise they have no way to know. My cars will have pretty much blank information since I do my own maintenance. The only thing they would see is when mine went in for a recall issue or periodic service such as transfer case fluid change.


#7

Thank you.


#8

Hmmm. Everything under the hood looks abnormally clean. Would it have been cleaned up to not show what you just described? And how on earth does one clean the entire engine area?


#9

It is called detailing and most used vehicle dealers do it.


#10

Oh. I’m learning a lot. Thanks.


#11

I don’t think you understood what I was describing. Those short trips–combined with oil changes that are not frequent enough–will result in damaging sludge inside the engine, and will eventually kill the engine from lack of lubrication. An engine might look perfectly clean outside, but could be choking on tar-like deposits inside.

If you want an analogy, think of a person who showers every day, but fails to take care of his health. His skin might be very clean, but his arteries are filled with lipid deposits that will eventually lead to a coronary event.


#12

However an abnormally clean engine on a 12 year old car can indicate they scrubbed it down to hide the oil leak.


#13

That is possible. But the father and son ran used vehicle lot near me details the engine compartment along with a wash and wax plus tire shine. On some they even pull the seats to clean the carpet.


#14

The one I used to live near would go out back with a can of black fabric spray paint and “detail” the carpets. They also liked to wipe down leaky engines as well as applying other forms of camouflage to worn areas. Needless to say I didn’t patronize that place.